Stunning photographs of the Great Barrier Reef’s pink manta ray

By Angela Heathcote 11 February 2020
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These images of the Great Barrier Reef’s pink manta ray are mesmerising.

ALTHOUGH WELL KNOWN by locals, the bright pink manta ray that often calls Lady Elliot Island home is a rare sighting.

First spotted in 2015 by dive instructor Ryan Jeffery, the manta ray’s pink belly, which is typically white, initially perplexed scientists, who believed it may have been skin infection.

The University of Queensland’s Project Manta, which is studying the animal, says “the colouration is just an unusual and unique expression of the skin’s melanin”.

Recently, photographer Kristian Laine was lucky enough to encounter the unique animal near Lady Elliot Island, the southernmost island on the Great Barrier Reef, and managed to get stunning images of the ray’s pink underside.

Related: Rare black manta ray spotted on the Great Barrier Reef
(Image credit: @kristianlainephotography)

“At first I was very confused. When I went through my photos in my camera right after the encounter I was looking through my viewfinder and was thinking its weird that one of the mantas look pink. I was in the middle of a manta train with seven other mantas,” says Kristian.

“I actually thought my strobes were playing up, making the manta look pink.

“That was until later that day, I saw on the board at Lady Elliot Island a photo of the pink manta. It felt amazing because I’d just witnessed it so close.”

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